Meteorites and Tektites from Outer Space
When I was a teenager back in high school you were a nobody unless you had both a calculator (which was still new technology at the time) and one of these meteorite sampler kits. I no longer have that bulky, ugly LED calculator with the glowing red numerals that I could spell SHELLOIL with by typing the numerals "71077345" and turning the calculator upside down (I miss L.E.D. calculators and not for just this!)
I Still Have my Meteorite Kit
These meteorite sampler kits were available at scientific stores like The Nature Company. They were great stocking-stuffers at Christmastime. A little inexpensive opaque plastic cassette box with a printed piece of white card file explaining each of the five meteorite items and the second printed card was the actual display mount with a small fingernail-sized fragment of each offering glued in place next to its explanatory text.
(image reconstruction by author)
From the printed card (with meteoric materials afixed) is the following:
About 3000 tons of material from outer space falls to Earth daily. Most of it burns up in Earth's atmosphere as a meteor or shooting star. A piece which reaches the earth's surface is called a meteorite. If a meteorite is large enough, its impact produces a crater. This meteorite oxide crust comes from just outside Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona. It was formed by the weathering of a nickel-iron meteorite which fell about 30,000 years ago.
A very large meteorite melts the rock in its crater at impact. If some of this melt is thrown from the crater into space it hardens into a glass called a tektite and then falls back to earth. This tektite from Thailand (see image, above) formed about 730,000 years ago.
Tektites -Are they Meteorites?
A new theory on the origin of tektites suggests that they were part of a ring system much like the planet Saturn has that fell back to Earth thousands of years ago. This new theory provides some plausible explanations for anomalous facts regarding tektites that don't fit well with more currently known facts of impact and molten ejecta falling back to
One of the largest probable impact structures is the Sudbury Basin in Ontario, Canada, formed about 1.8 billion years ago. Micropegmatites formed by the slow cooling of the impact melt within the crater. The fallback breccia is formed of broken rock which was thrown out and fell back into the crater. The pyrrhotite from Sudbury contains nickel thought to have come from the meteorite.
The material pyrrhotite is a magnetic pyrite. Its color is similar to pyrite and a magnet is weakly attracted to it. As the iron content is decreased the magnetism attraction is increased. The non-magnetic material is called troilite, which is a mineral also native to Earth but found to be more abundant in meteorites and specifically those originating from the Moon and the planet Mars.
The material troilite has been discovered on the Moon and is deemed possible to also exist on Mars as well.
Confirmation for these findings were allegedly given by the instruments aboard the space probes of the lunar Apollo series, the Mars Viking landers and of the (former USSR/European) Phobos Space Probe to their respective targets.
International Space Project "Phobos"
(Mars/Phobos Space Explorer Postage Stamp of the USSR: image by author)
Most people have never heard of the International Space Probe Phobos, which was a series of two probes launched days apart in the summer of 1988. The former Soviet Union issued a commemorative postage stamp depicting a key element of the intended Phobos probe, spectral analysis of the material of the inner moon Phobos.
"Phobos" -A moon of Mars
The Soviet Union in conjunction with several European countries launched the two probes, Phobos 1 and Phobos 2, in July of 1988.
The Phobos 1 space craft failed while still in Earth orbit due to faulty software uploaded from a ground-based station which caused the probe to turn its antenna away from the tracking station. The vessel was subsequently lost in near orbit.
The sister vessel Phobos 2 departed as planned and studied both the Sun and finally the Red Planet Mars but it too tragically failed just as it was nearing the inner Martian moon Phobos, the focal point of its mission.
The very last frame image it returned was purported to show a mysterious long shadow on the small moon Phobos that could not have been of the approaching probe. These images can be found on the web for those interested in viewing them.
Spacecraft Phobos series: Deemed a Failure
As neither probe actually completed their main objectives, neither were deemed by its planners and makers to have been a success. Much blame by all participants in the failed space program has been laid for the failings.
Many conspiracy groups believe that the Phobos 2 was destroyed by a UFO and the shadow on Phobos along with the infrared image of the so-called 'mystery object' were proof of alien intervention. Furthermore, the subsequent failure of the $400,000,000 U.S. Observer Space Probe mission cemented these fringe believers' contention of alien involvement near the moons of planet Mars.
Apparently we humans are a virus and it appears that we intend to send other viruses to Mars later this autumn as 'an experiment.' Maybe those aliens have a right to fear us after all.
Is Phobos an Artificial Moon?
It is a curious factoid that the orbital speed of inner moon Phobos is slowly increasing and not decreasing despite its near proximity to the planet's surface. This would most likely be possible for a naturally occurring moon only if the moon were hollow inside (mass not consistant with volume.)
A hollow moon of course does not prove aliens were involved and I don't subscribe to the notion that aliens are involved either. This theory lacks any proof of aliens, just allegation. But conversely, the absence of proof is not proof of absence.